Analyzing OD 2017 III Data: Women and Their Use of Transportation Applications

Studying the demand for transport in cities often overlooks important differences arising from distinct behaviors among social groups. It is becoming increasingly consensual, however, that several urban factors affect modal choice - and do so differently in each group. The gender issue, for example, is one of the most important.
Since women's activities and social conditions are very different from those of men, it is only natural that these idiosyncrasies are reflected in their own patterns in daily commute; highlighting them not only helps address social issues of equality, but can also contribute to better urban transport planning.
Thus, with the intention of analyzing the differences in the behavior patterns of women and men in the use of applications, the 99 Public Policy Team presents its third article in the series with data from the latest Metro Subway Source-Destination (OD) Survey. Sao Paulo.
In the first texts, we sought to understand more about the multimodal profile of the application user and the relationship between application use and car ownership. Now the idea is to expand on these and other analyzes to better understand women's use of apps. Women make more or less travel per app than men? Why do they use this service compared to other modes of transport? And what are the differences in the profile of women using this service? These are the questions this text will address next.
In recent years, more researchers have been addressing the issue of gender in urban transport. This theme has been covered in our Medium before. One of the main researches on the topic (1) used data from the São Paulo Subway Origin-Destination Survey, conducted since 1977, to show, among other things, the differences in the movement of men and women in the São Paulo Metropolitan Region.
Figure 1: Historical evolution of modal split by gender in the São Paulo Metropolitan Region. Source: Svab (2016, p. 115)
It is possible to see from the graph that, despite the changes that have occurred since 1977 in the modal split, some gender differences remain constant, such as the predominance of man-made "car driving" mode trips. Meanwhile, individual “passenger” travel (whether by taxi or private car) has always been predominantly made by women.
It is reasonable to imagine that changes in the transportation supply in cities also reflect and impact the behavior of men and women as they move around the city differently. With the emergence of transport applications in recent years, it is natural that this service also has particularities regarding the gender of users, and is interesting to explore them.
Modal choice: As expected, women use more app than men
To see how the scenario presented in Figure 1 has evolved to the present day (including the emergence of the new mode of transport applications), we used data from the 2017 Origin-Destination Survey. Charts 1 and 2 below verify the new modal split. RMSP and the respective gender differences:

Graph 1: Modal division by gender

Graph 2: Percentage of women and men travel by taxi and transportation apps

In the first graph, it is possible to verify patterns similar to those pointed in the historical trend, with the predominance of male displacements in the “driving car” and “driving motorcycle” modes, as well as the female majority in the rides of these two modes and the means of transport used. as a service (bus, rails, app and taxi). In the second, it focuses specifically on the proportion of “shared car” travel (taxi and apps), showing that 1.19% of women's trips are made by apps, while only 0.57% of men's trips use this mode. .
Looking at travel by transport app alone, the gender breakdown is 68% for women - a greater difference than taxi, which already has a historically high proportion of 63%. This figure shows that transportation applications are already an important mode of transportation present in women's daily commute in the RMSP.
After reviewing the differences in the proportion of trips women take for each mode of transportation, we move on to further analysis to better understand their application usage. It is important to understand what is the profile of women who use applications the most or in which situations this use is more intensive, comparing directly with the use of men.
We first seek to understand the motives of travel by women in cars called by apps. Then, a gender-based socioeconomic profile analysis of travel by application was made to understand, for example, whether women living in central or peripheral neighborhoods travel more commensurately.
Women use more app to work and generate income for their families
To begin with, Chart 3 below shows the percentage of app trips that are made by women for each reason present in OD and compared to the overall. For example, 62% of “education” app trips were made by women (compared to 38% of men), while 55% of all trips with “education” motives were made by them.
Graph 3: Percentage of women's travel on trips made for each reason in RMSP apps and total trips
As women are the majority among app users, it is expected that for all travel reasons there will be more women than men travel. However, some reasons draw attention for their difference relative to other modes, for example, "personal affairs" and "shopping".
It is also important to note the relative predominance of the “work” motif over other modes of transport. On the average, one of the few reasons that men have more trips than women (43%) is “work”. However, among app travel, women's travel remains the absolute majority (66%), showing how a social difference can outweigh the travel motivation in choosing the mode.
This led us to a third analysis that follows the same logic as the previous one, but instead of dividing the groups according to the reason for the trip, they were divided according to the family situation. Thus, the percentage of application trips made by women in each group of people from the same family situation was calculated and compared with the general average of all modes of transport, as shown in Graph 4 below:
Graph 4: Percentage of women's travel on trips made in each household situation in apps and total RMSP travel
The most striking point on the chart is how female travel by householder applications is most representative: 63% of them are made by women, while in other modes of transport, women represent only 36%.
Thus, in these two analyzes it is possible to see how applications are an important part of the displacement of women who use it more than men for almost every reason and family condition, but especially for work and when they are heads of household.
Differences in income and space: Which women use the most app?
An attentive person may point out that the differences in previous analyzes may stem from differences in income: women heads of households may have more income and therefore use more applications. For the last analysis performed, then, it was sought to verify the proportion of application use for different socioeconomic profiles, in order to understand in which social classes the use of application by women, compared to men, is more relevant.
First, we observed the difference in this variable in the different quintiles of family income. The result can be seen in Graph 5 below:
Graph 5: Percentage of women's travel on trips made in each household situation in RMSP apps and total trips
From this graph it is possible to see that women are the majority among app users in all income brackets, being more present, however, in a low-intermediate income bracket (between R $ 1750 and R $ 3210 per month), where they exceed 70 % of trips made.
Subsequently, we calculated the same indices by dividing the groups spatially. Thus, we calculated the percentage rate of app trips made by women for four area groupings, listed below and shown in Maps 1 and 2 below:
  1. Area comprised within the expanded center of the capital;
  2. Capital area outside the expanded center;
  3. Municipality of São Paulo;
  4. Other municipalities of the Metropolitan Region.

Map 1: Geographic representation of areas 1 and 2 used for spatial analysis

Map 2: Geographic representation of areas 3 and 4 used for spatial analysis
The percentages of app trips taken by women for each of these areas are shown in the chart below:

Graph 6: Percentage of women's travel on app trips made in each of the regions analyzed
It is clear, then, how relatively, transportation applications are more important in the displacement of women in peripheral rather than central regions, such as the expanded center of the city of Sao Paulo.
Thus, both the income analysis and the spatial approach show that applications are more relevant among women in regions whose average income is not high, but in peripheral low-middle income regions.
Highlights and Next Steps
In this last article of the series exploring data from the 2017 Origin-Destination Survey of the São Paulo Metro, we sought to analyze the main differences in the use of transportation applications between women and men. The idea is that this information will serve as a source for further gender discussions in the urban transport environment.
Thus, this article showed that:
As well as other modes of transport that are used as a service (bus, taxi, car passenger), women are the absolute majority on in-app travel (68%) on the RMSP, which shows how important this mode of transport is in everyday life. women of the region;
Relatively, women use more commuting applications to work than men. In addition, a large proportion of women using the app are heads of household;
Women are the majority of app users across all regions and income groups, but are relatively more present in lower-middle-income social strata and in peripheral regions such as other municipalities in the RMSP.
Svab, H. (2016). Evolution of displacement patterns in the metropolitan region of São Paulo: the need for gender analysis (Master's Dissertation, University of São Paulo).